Everything You Need To Know About The Amazon Technical Academy
Amazon is one of the leading employers in the world today. With an ever-growing company and an expanding marketplace, the job market for Amazon shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. In fact, Amazon has a designated training academy for its workers looking to take matters to the next level.
The program is short but challenging, rewarding but limited, and exciting growth in the right direction for the company. This article will explain everything you need to know about the Amazon Technical Academy, including how to get into the program, how to study for the test, what the program looks like, and how competitive it really is.
Table of Contents
What Is the Amazon ATA Program?
The comprehensive program ensures you will graduate as an Amazon SDE (Software Development Engineer) in just nine months. The program calls for applicants to pass three exams for admission.
- The AMCAT (The Aspiring Minds Computer Adaptive Test)
- A Work Style Assessment
- Technical Assessment
Let’s examine the requirements for each of these exams:
Requirements for the ATA Program
To enroll in the ATA program, you need to have worked at Amazon for one consecutive year, be a full-time or reduced-time Blue Badge worker, not have any write-ups, be a U.S. citizen, and have permission to work full-time in the U.S. for Amazon.
Before you take the testing at the end of the ATA Program, you have to complete coursework including:
- Unit one- a six-week coding course. It reviews the basics and fundamentals of coding, Java, and design
- Unit two- a five-week course about software design, including data composition and structures
- Unit three- a four-week course about data and logging information
- Unit four- a one-month course reviewing the basics of computer operations, including developers, data, and queues
- Subsection- Unit four has a one-month subsection titled: Learn and be Curious, the same name as one of the 16 principles. This section gives extra information about coding, and it helps you determine when you need help moving forward
- Unit five- This unit is a one-month course about advanced topics like caching and data
- Capstone is the final wrap-up of all the units. The ten-week summation reviews designs, fundamentals, and other advanced features.
How Much Does the ATA Program Cost?
The full-time nine-month program does not cost a penny for Amazon employees, and students will receive $3,692 a month, which equals $21.19 an hour for 40-hour work weeks.
The ATA Program Entry Test – AMCAT
The AMCAT, also known as the Aspiring Minds Computer Adaptive Test, is administered right after applicants finish their ATA applications. Unlike other pre-employment tests, the AMCAT offers an exam unique to Amazon.
It is unlike any other test you will take before starting a new career. What is so different about the AMCAT? It has questions that require much more thought and time than other pre-employment tests. To prepare for this test, you need to devote hours and hours of preparation and study.
What Is the Format of the AMCAT?
The AMCAT asks test-takers 24 questions, and they have 35 minutes to answer each question. That might seem long a long time and an easy task, but the questions get more and more difficult as the test continues.
You might spend three seconds answering a basic math problem while you spend five minutes on the next question that asks a complicated word problem.
This test focuses on logical reasoning skills. You do not need to refer to any coding knowledge when taking this exam. You can use scrap paper to assist you in answering the questions to the best of your ability.
How’s It scored?
You get one chance to pass the AMCAT, and if you fail, you do not get the opportunity to take the test again, and you can not proceed with the ATA program.
Amazon never releases the score needed to pass the test, so your best bet is to answer each question to the best of your ability, use deductive reasoning skills if you aren’t sure what the answer is, and manage your time.
Preparing for the Test
To practice for the AMCAT, you can prepare with prep packs and study guides that ask similar questions to the ones on the test. Study guide makers and prep pack creators spend countless hours researching the kinds of questions and the question categories on the AMCAT.
They know how to concoct an effective study guide. The questions on the study guide will not be the same as questions on the AMCAT, but practicing with similar questions can increase your chance of passing the test.
Read every question thoroughly and reread the question to make sure you understand what it asks of you. Take your time responding to the questions and note important details from the question before selecting an answer.
Sometimes questions do not give enough information to make a solid conclusion, so an answer might say, “there is not enough information to answer this question/ conclude anything.” If that is ever an answer choice, make sure you take in all the information given to you in the question and triple-check your work.
Always pay attention to language and word use in the questions. Always, never, sometimes, and maybe are some words that can trip you up if you move through the test too quickly. Read thoroughly before answering any question.
How Can Job Test Prep Help?
Job Test Prep’s prep pack for the AMCAT includes a practice test with 24 questions over a time limit of 35 minutes. Exactly like the real exam.
Plus, this prep package explains what you answered correctly, what you did not answer correctly, and why. To ensure success, study these response explanations. They can also help you learn how to better answer the AMCAT questions.
In addition to the prep pack, Job Test Prep throws in 16 practice problems for you to practice your logical and numerical reasoning skills.
If you practice with these drills, you increase your chance of passing the AMCAT portion of the ATA training program and advancing to the next step in the completion process, the Work Style Assessment.
What Is the Work Style Assessment?
Most pre-employment screenings require some kind of personality test to understand the kind of person applying for the job, determine eligibility, match job requirements with previous experience, and learn more about your skills and goals. The ATA program uses a work style assessment as its version of a personality test.
This test is also given to most people who apply to work for Amazon.
This fifteen-minute assessment has numerous questions you answer on a scaled basis. Each question gives you two options on either side and underneath the statements are five choices.
For example, the left side of the question could read, “I do not respond well to criticism and do not take it constructively.” To the far left (underneath this phrase) the choice reads, ‘most like me.’ Next to that, it reads ‘more like me.’ the middle button is the neutral option for you to select if you feel indifferent about the statements.
On the right side, the phrase could say, “I respond well to criticism and use it constructively.” Underneath that phrase on the right side of the line, the options read, ‘more like me,’ or ‘most like me,’ to the far right.
It is important to be honest, but also to remember aspects of the 16 principles Amazon calls for with its employees. These principles include:
- Customer Obsession- The customer is the most important aspect of the job
- Ownership- Being proud of where you work, who you are, and owning up to your decisions even if you made a mistake
- Invent and Simplify- Create new things and try to make them accessible to as many people as possible
- Are Right, A Lot- This statement refers to leaders being right but also striving to challenge themselves and learn new ideas and hear new perspectives
- Learn and Be Curious- Allow yourself to explore different ideas and educate yourself on subjects you don’t know
- Hire and Develop the Best- Seek to bring the best leadership to the Amazon team. Don’t settle for lazy or mediocre, rather outstanding and exemplary employees
- Insist on the Highest Standards- Always make sure your workers live up to role model status
- Think Big- Nothing is impossible
- Bias for Action- Getting things done is much better than doing nothing. Take a risk. You never know what might happen if you do
- Frugality- Stretching the use of machinery and equipment or finding new ways to accomplish different tasks helps you learn to be inventive and save money
- Earn Trust- Be honest and hardworking, so employers look to you and send others to you for advice/ as a model
Dive Deep- Explore every side of everything. Nothing is too big or too small
- Have a Back Bone; Disagree and Commit- Stand up for yourself and voice your opinion. Don’t back down if someone challenges you. Stand your ground instead.
- Deliver Results- Demonstrate you can do what you say you will
- Strive to be Earth’s Best Employer- Make Amazon a company everyone yearns to work for. You have the opportunity to make your coworkers feel welcomed by you and to introduce new workers to your company. Make everyone want to work for the company and have a good (and productive) work life
- Success and Scale Bring Broad Responsibility- When you operate a successful business or succeed at your job, new opportunities will arise. Think of the bigger picture and how you can represent your company outside of the workplace
So, when you answer the questions on the Work Style Assessment, make sure to think about how your answers align with these principles. If you find that none or few of your answers align, you might want to spend some extra time learning how to answer these questions to demonstrate you should work for Amazon.
Make sure you study all of the 16 principles and memorize them if possible to ensure advancement in the ATA program.
How Can Job Test Prep Help?
Job Test Prep offers a comprehensive practice Work Style Assessment, and once you complete the test, the AI generates an answer explanation guide. This helps you learn how to answer the questions and advance to the next section of the ATA.
What Is the Technical Assessment?
The last portion of the ATA is the Technical Assessment. It does have a coding project included, but if you do not feel comfortable or do not want to take the coding project on the test, it is optional.
This part of the test is all about Java. You need to brush up on Java fundamentals to ace this exam. Each test taker has three hours to finish the exam, but most complete the test within 1.5 hours.
The test is administered on a computer with a webcam and since the camera takes pictures throughout the test, avoid having any other tabs open on your computer, having any distracting items near you, or looking away from the computer frequently. Although, you can use paper and pencil to help you during the test.
Three sections exist on the Technical Assessment:
- Sentence Completion- You need to fill in blanks based on your Java knowledge.
- Multiple Choice Questions- Each test has 29 multiple choice questions related to Java programming. However, the multiple choice questions can have more than four or five answers to choose from. To pass this portion, you need to brush up on your programming knowledge.
- Coding Question- This part of the exam asks you to demonstrate your coding abilities. You have a coding problem and a coding editor, and you need to solve the problem by writing the code, gathering the information together, and submitting it to the computer.
How Can Job Test Prep Help?
It offers a Aspiring Minds Computer Adaptive Test that helps you learn fundamentals and code in real-time.
Enroll In the ATA Program Today
The amount of people who work for Amazon increases daily. With an expanding workforce and novel opportunities for workers, employees turn to the ATA Program to move up in the company. Now that you know more about the ATA Program and what it entails, when will you apply?
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.